Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hi Tech, Lo Tech, No Tech

Prevention Works is still one of your best stops for info on identity theft and how to stop it. Matthew Bowen has a nice piece up today on the “low tech” of id theft, with surprising news (at least to me) that so little of it is really done over the Internet and how much still the good old-fashioned ways (although, as he notes, the sample may be skewed). Go read his post, then go read the report he tells you to read instead of just his post. But here’s a teaser:

Identity theft is not as high tech as it seems. According to the report, only half of identity theft cases investigated by the Secret Service involve the Internet or other technological devices. In 10 percent of cases, thieves resorted to “non-technological methods, such as change of address and dumpster diving.” That’s right, your trash still makes you vulnerable to identity theft. Additionally, in the cases where the center was able to identify a source of vulnerability, 50 percent of the victims were compromised by a business and another 16 percent were compromised by a friend or family member. Disregarding the 16 percent of victims harmed by family and friends, “59 percent of the victims did not know the offenders,” a much higher figure than I have previously heard.

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